These days we are constantly faced with images. Be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or in our commutes (billboards, subway advertisements, bus advertisements, etc.), especially in Los Angeles. This is not by mistake. It is well understood that we are visual learners first. Imagery is easier and faster to digest. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. So, what does all of this have to do with getting professional headshots?
Our social media presences are filled with photographs, videos, and infographics. We are almost constantly encountering different brands throughout our day. It happens so often that we stop noticing and it becomes a part of the background.
A large part of any corporate success is a corporation’s ability to conduct effective marketing, which will usually depend heavily on imagery. With visual input playing such a large role in our everyday lives and careers, why would you choose to neglect to get corporate headshots for your networking and professional appearance? Below we will discuss different ways that a professional headshot can create a positive impact on the success of a company or your individual career.
Headshots present a unique opportunity for you to tell a little about yourself to professionals that have not or will soon meet you. They help set the stage for you. Anything from your facial expression, location, props, and your attire can say a lot about you.
When working with a professional photographer you can both work together to decide where would be best to take a photo that best represents you and your career or desired career path. If you are already in a career, the headshot can be used to further brand yourself.
For example, perhaps you want to come across as serious – they serious lawyer you call in a pinch, the financial expert for those big corporate projects, etc. – you can create that perception in a headshot. Or perhaps you want to come across as highly approachable – that real estate agent you can count on to sell your house or that doctor you have been looking a long time for.
The headshot alone can be done in ways that paint the story you want. Then, when strategically published in varying places and with respective content to go alongside it, your headshot can be that first impression that helps with sales opportunities.
It is hard to deny that your headshot does not work as an introduction of you. There are actually studies that show a first impression is quickly made and rarely changes, even when that first impression is made through a photo.
You can image that your latest post is a first impression upon someone. With so many such posts being taken with smartphone quality inferior cameras, it is easy for that to become a poor impression. So, it should be clearly avoided for professional social networks.
With so many social media platforms geared toward career minded persons, you want to ensure that you are presenting your best self. Even if you have a career within an industry that you have been involved with for years you still want to present a great headshot. It will let others know that you are an expert in your subject or at the very least, that you take yourself and your career seriously. It also demonstrates self-confidence and surveys have shown that self-confidence is a top trait employers seek.
A good professional headshot is also a means for headhunters and recruiters to get an idea of who you are and whether they would be tempted to reach out with an offer that may entice you to move up the ladder in your field. If you are new to a job search and are looking to start your career you should be aware that the first thing a hiring manager does is look for you online. Would you prefer to have a silly Facebook profile photo available or a professional LinkedIn Profile with a headshot that says “hire me” before they even read the content?
Corporate Team Headshots Also Tell Stories
Just like a person’s individual headshot can tell a story, the collective headshots of a corporate team can tell many stories too. Properly executed, they can precisely convey the messaging a business is after. For example, if you are all about diversity, team headshots on the company website that illustrate this in your team is the clearest way to get that across.
The attire people wear can also be a way to get across messaging. You can go from a team that all wears the same color Polos to one where each person wears whatever they want. For the Polos, this might be ideal for a team that wants to get across a collective thought process. For the ones that wear whatever they want, it might be to get across a creative thought process.
The same is true for a team that all wears business suits, either because they want to convey professionalism or because that is expected within their industry. The background also plays a role. It is quite common to use a solid or slightly gradient background to keep things simple and polished. But outdoor settings are also possible – again, it all depends on the corporate messaging your marketing team is trying to get across.
There are certain types of firms where having headshots of at least senior management are important. These are often customer-facing firms like for accountants and finance, doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, and other similar professionals that regularly directly engage with customers.
It is common for their websites to have business headshots easily found on them. These too tell a branding story. They also tell an individual story. Again, this might be that you are approachable or serious-minded, just to point out two examples.
The point is a good headshot can be that first impression that helps develop a sales opportunity. Having them on your website can be the small difference between your firm landing the deal over the firm with no headshots.
Headshots are often overlooked in more ways than just the above. Perhaps you are a professional that believes you do not need to have a headshot, even for your online business profiles. There are several other reasons why you might need to reconsider this position.
It is not uncommon for a headshot photographer to get a call from someone asking, “are you available right now to do a headshot?” These are usually requests stemming from success opportunities. Here are a few real-life past events.
Respond to RFQs
A company was encouraged by another company seeking requests for qualifications (RFQ) that they should apply – that because few vendors had applied, they had a good shot at winning the deal. Being very interested, the company started reviewing the RFQ and noticed a requirement for professional headshots for the team that would work on the project. The RFQ was due at the end of the week. So, a team of five had to suddenly go get professional headshots.
To Submit with Published Articles
A technology executive wrote an article they had long wanted to have published on a specific industry website. They suddenly learned from the editor that they were going to publish the article next week and to please submit a headshot. Realizing they did not have a professional headshot ready to go, now that executive had to drop everything planned that day to find a way to quickly get a headshot.
For Speaker Engagements
An executive had submitted to speak at an event they wanted to target. While they were not originally selected, a last-minute cancellation suddenly had them in high demand. The show organizers asked if they could please fill in next week. Happy at the opportunity, they said of course, to which the show organizer asked the person to please send along a current headshot. Now this executive had to also drop their plans suddenly for that day to get a professional headshot done.
A Recruiter Needs Your LinkedIn Updated
An executive gets a call from their recruiter they had not spoken with for a while. The recruiter had found this person the lucrative job they had sought and wanted to submit them as a leading candidate. But upon checking their LinkedIn profile, the recruiter told them they could not submit it until they replaced the cropped selfie on their profile with a professional headshot. Asked if they could take care of it by tomorrow, that person too had to stop what they were doing to find a professional photographer.
There are countless reasons behind a good professional headshot. With most photos nowadays being inferior smartphone quality, getting one professionally made is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself or your business. Professional headshots represent at least quality and professionalism, and these are desirable traits in almost any situation.